Girls aged under 18 were victims of more than half of reported historic sexual offences, CSO says

New figures show men were the victims in 71 per cent of homicides reported last year

More than half of people who reported historic sexual offences last year were women who were aged under 18 at the time of the crime, data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows.

The CSO on Friday released its publications on recorded crime victims in 2022 and suspected offenders in 2021, which are based on data contained on An Garda Síochána’s PULSE system.

The figures show that 26 per cent victims who reported historic sexual offences – meaning rape and sexual assault – last year were males aged under 18 when the crimes occurred.

CSO Crime

However, males under 18 accounted for just 3 per cent of the victims filing complaints, compared to 19 per cent for females. Jim Dalton, statistician in the crime and criminal justice section of the CSO, said the finding shows “males tended to report sexual offence crimes (rape and sexual assault only) later than females”.


More than four in five (83 per cent) victims of reported sexual offences – both recent and historic – were female. Of the 3,118 reported victims of incidents of sexual offences last year, 2,575 were female and 543 were male.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of victims reported the incident within a year of occurrence, with 20 per cent reporting the incident more than 10 years after the date of occurrence.

In terms of homicides, men were the victims in 71 per cent of incidents reported last year, and males were targeted in nearly six in 10 reported incidents of physical assault and related offences. More than three fifths (62 per cent) of victims of dangerous driving leading to death were men.

In 2021, men were the suspected offenders for the majority of detected homicide, sexual and physical assault offences.

“Suspected offender statistics are published up to 2021 only to allow time for criminal investigations to progress,” Mr Dalton said.

In just over a fifth (22 per cent) of detected sexual offences in 2021, the suspected offender and victim were both male while three in every four (76 per cent) involved a male suspected offender and a female victim.

A third (33 per cent) of detected sexual offences in 2021 involved a victim who was under 18 and a suspected offender who was aged 30 or more when the offence occurred.

This same age cohort of suspected offenders were responsible for 13 per cent of sexual offences against victims aged 18-29 years and 11 per cent of offences against victims who were at least 30 at the time.

Nearly six in 10 (57 per cent) of detected murder or manslaughter offences reported in 2021 involved a male suspected offender and victim, with 38 per cent involving a male suspected offender and a female victim.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times